Richmond is a city noted for its historic landmarks. And as the 1708 Gallery community celebrates its 40th year of presenting exceptional new art in Richmond we are noting a few of the many artists who have helped us along the way. As we pause and consider our future we are grateful for those who were there in the beginning and whose work continues to make a difference today.
Landmarks is the first of two exhibitions designed to highlight the work of artists who who have a persistent presence in our cultural landscape, from our origin story onward. Tom Adair, Jeffrey Allison, James Bradford, Al Calderaro, Ann Chenoweth, Reni Gower and Joe Seipel are seven of the exceptional artists who exhibited at 1708’s original location in Shockoe Bottom at 1708 East Main Street during our premiere season.
Our creation story began in a historic and neglected district. It was a beacon of things to come- for the neighborhood and the region. Shockoe Bottom was a flood plain with no flood wall, hence 1708 had no protection from rising rents- or waters! As the gallery endured numerous fiscal and creative milestones these artists were a few of the persistent makers, printers, curators, or professors who contributed to the watershed that our community thrives on.
Painter James Bradford, whose name may be most recognized by young artists via the VCU scholarship in his name and sculptor Joseph Seipel were two of the five co-founders of 1708 Gallery. Joe is now a full time sculptor after retiring as acting director of the premier season of the Institute for Contemporary Art, just a few blocks west of 1708.
Printmaker Ann Chenoweth, painter Reni Gower, conceptual artist Tom Adair and photographer Jeffrey Allison have each pursued their various creative practices with tenacity and passion while contributing to our community as educators and arts administrators. Al Calderaro began his career as a maker, founded a gallery at one point and is currently producing a documentary film.